by Bruce Sylvester
Like his father Bob did on “Farewell Angelina,” Jakob Dylan can set a love song amid an apocalypse. Check “Standing Eight Count,” the finale on his sophomore solo venture, roots rock “Women + Country“ (Columbia). Also like his dad, he whets his listeners’ curiosity by being ominous without giving too many specifics.
Unlike his dad, he’s an unassuming singer, so ace producer T Bone Burnett wisely uses a subtle palette, maintaining the disc’s variety as the tone shifts around from atmospheric to dark horn-based vestiges of a New Orleans parade. “Women + Country” has way more sonic textures than its worthy predecessor, “Seeing Things.”
Neko Case and Kelly Hogan provide female voices on Women + Country’s love songs set amid rolling acres of boneyards where it’s “eye for an eye and truth for truth” (“Glad I’ve got you here with me down in hell’s half acre’s infirmary”). In “Holy Rollers For Love,” the only guide is a book of blank maps. “They’ve Trapped Us Boys” seems especially potent in the wake of West Virginia’s recent mine disaster.